It seems we never did "spell out" the details of how the 1974 decision on D&R should be applied in various cases.
Result: There has been a grievous watering down.
By Herbert w. Armstrong
THERE IS ONE great difference between
the law of God and the laws made by human government, God has given us
His law in form of general principles to be applied in various cases,
whereas in national laws, state laws and city ordinances, MAN tries to
make multiple thousands of laws; "spelling out" every little detail in
a separate law.
It is made dear for us in the third chapter of II Corinthians. "[God],
also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the
letter, but of the spirit (verse 6).
God's Law is given in one single word; LOVE. God is love, His law is
love That word sums up God's CHARACTER. The law then is amplified into
the two Great Laws, love toward God, and love toward neighbor. God
amplifies it a little further in the Ten Commandments, the first four
giving the broad principles of how to love God and the last six how to
But God intended us to understand the PRINCIPLE involved
and apply it honestly. Now it comes to my attention that many are
finding gray areas in the D&R law. I will try to spell out a little
further in a general way, and those who seek the WAY OF GOD instead of
their own way will have, I hope, no difficulty in applying God's Law
properly according to its intended spirit. Otherwise, those who try to
reason around God's law to have their own way will stand condemned in
the sight of God.
GOD DOES NOT COMPROMISE WITH OR WATER DOWN HIS LAW. Rather than that He
GAVE His only begotten Son Jesus to pay the penalty of repented sin in
Two major Categories
Actually what happened in 1974 was not a CHANGE in the Church's
definition of God's law, but the ADDITION of a second reason for
divorce and remarriage we, should have, but did not, see before - so
now we have the TWO categories.
First just as we understood it in the Church before, Jesus gave
fornication (prior to marriage) as the grounds for nullifying a
marriage. This clearly was a form of fraud. When discovered (in nearly
all cases) immediately after marriage, it simply meant God, knowing of
this fraud, had actually not bound the marriage - and what followed
therefore was actually an annulment, not a divorce. However this did
not apply in Cases of marriage by unconverted people. God never
bound them anyway - they were bound by man's law, and any divorce
and/or remarriage would be according to man's civil law. But the Church
would not apply this annulment if the couple had continued living
together for a period of time. There could be other types of fraud -
such as a marriage enforced at the point of a gun. The second cause
-for divorce, affirmed by the Church through Christ's apostle in 1974,
was based on I Corinthians 7
This matter of D&R was the biggest, most troublesome problem is the
Church. One day my son, Garner Ted, came to me saying It did not appear
to be a problem in the early Church at all - according to the book of
Acts and Paul's epistles. He asked why. Dr. Herman Hoeh then added
something to the problem, and we discovered this teaching in 1
Corinthians 7. We had been very familiar with 1 Coririthians
7 before, but had not recognized this D&R teaching in it.
Paul there speaks, verses 8-9, to the unmarried and widows. In verse
10-11 he speaks to the married. Beginning verse 12 he speaks to "the
rest," If a converted man has a wife who is an unbeliever, causing
trouble and disrupting the marriage because of the man's religion
(NOTICE IT CAREFULY), if she is pleased to live with him, he must
not divorce her- he has NO GROUNDS for divorce and remarriage.
Likewise the woman in God's Church, if she has an unbelieving husband,
and he is willing to live with her despite her religion, she shall not
leave him (verse 13).
But if the unbelieving one leaves - cuts off the marriage because of
the Church members religion - let him or her depart. Now NOTICE THIS!
The believing Church member is not given grounds for breaking off the
marriage. It is only IF the unbelieving one leaves - severs the
marriage relationship - then and only then is the believer (Church
member) no longer bound and free to obtain a divorce (verse 15).
I conceive of this occurring in at least two ways. 1) The believing
Church member has been newly converted, and the mate refuses to live
with him or her because of the religion. 2) Both had been in the
Church, but one falls away, turns bitter against the Church, refuses to
live as husband or wife with the still loyal member. In this ease the
embittered one, leaving the Church, has become an unbeliever.
Sanctified by the converted mate
Now Paul gives an important REASON for the converted mate CONTINUING in
the marriage, IF the unbelieving one is willing. Notice verse 14: "For
the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving
wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but
now they are holy."
"Sanctified" does NOT mean made sanctimonious or holy.
"Sanctified" means "set apart" or put in a separate category.
To thoroughly understand this we need to go clear back to Adam and Eve.
When God drove them out of the Garden of Eden , and with sword flaming
angels barred anyone from going back in- or having access to . the tree
of life (the HOLY SPIRIT) -God said, in effect:
"You have made your decision. You have rebelled against me, denied me
as your Gob, your Revealer of knowledge your Ruler. Therefore I
sentence you and the WORLD that shall be born from you to 6000 years of
being CUT OFF from me, except for the VERY FEW I shall specially call
into my service to prepare for the KINGDOM of GOD." .
Jesus" confirmed this when He said, "No man can to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44).
Now the nation of ancient Israel was specially called by God the
Fatther for a special purpose - even though they were still cut off
from receiving the Holy Spirit.
But the unconverted mate is put in a, special category -- NOT CALLED
NECESSARILY TO RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT OR SPIRITUAL CONVERSION - but
simply NOT CUT OFF from God. They are free to seek God, IF THEY WILL,
and to become converted. They are placed in a special category, neither
converted, or CALLED for God's special duty in conversion - but on the
other hand NOT actually CUT OFF - not in the category Jesus spoke
of, saying no such unbeliever CAN Come to Jesus, except by special call
to salvation by God the Father. They are free to SEEK God and to SEEK
conversion IF THEY WILL - not CUT OFF!
Applies to children also
This same status applies to the children of the converted mate. They
are neither CALLED to salvation NOR cut off from God. They may be
taught by the believing parent and reaching maturity, IF they will, to
SEEK CONVERSION. They are free to seek it - no longer CUT OFF from
Notice I Corinthians 7, verse 16: "For what- knowest thou, o wife,
whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou. 0 man,
whether thou shalt save thy wife?" If the husband or wife who is IN the
Church divorces the unbelieving non-member who is willing to continue
the marriage, that Church member puts unconverted mate in the cut off-
category-whereas such nonmember mate might have been saved for eternal
life in God's Kingdom.
Don't Twist God's Truth
Now WHY - OH WHY? - do professing members of God's Church seek to
reason their way around God's plain teaching and those in the Church
who are NOT eligible for divorce, seek to use human reason to TWIST
these scriptures in to allowing a divorce and remarriage that God's
WORD DOES NOT ALLOW?
Yet many, professing to be converted members of God's Church, have done
just that! Brethren, have I labored IN VAIN to open your minds to GOD'S
GLORIOUS TRUTH, and yet you despise the Word of God and twist a gray
area situation by your own faulty reasons to HAVE YOUR OWN WAY,
contrary to God's Word? Have I labored so long among you IN VAIN?
Some have falsely claimed theirs is a borderline case, and used their
own selfish and erroneous REASON to enter into a D&R situation
CONTRARY TO GOD'S WORD!
Even after the 1974 D&R ruling, my son. Garner Ted Armstrong
frowned upon D&R decisions made by the Church or it's ministers. I
am informed that Wayne Cole and Ron Dart, in offices of Pastoral
Administration, tried to avoid committing themselves in any such case.
In cases where a man and wife have been married for almost a quarter of
a century, human reason has been used by Church members to allow
divorce and both parties to remarry! In one case, the wife of nearly 25
years, who had actually pursued her husband prior to marriage, claimed
she just didn't love him any more. Both she and her husband are now
Such cases are a STENCH in the nostrils of a just GOD! They are a
disgrace to a church calling itself GOD'S CHURCH! Such liberal
decisions and actions SHALL NO LONGER BE TOLERATED in the Church of
GOD, preparing now for Christ's second coming!
The matter of fornication or other fraud prior to marriage CANNOT BE
USED AS GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE after the couple have gone
on living together; Unless such fraud is acted on at once - as soon as
discovered, IT is NO GROUNDS for divorce and remarriage! Jesus said
plainly, "whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth (Matt.
We are living in the LAST DAYS! Jesus Christ is COMING AGAIN - SOON!
When He comes His Church shall have made herself READY for the one
SUPREME MARRIAGE to CHRIST! We are NOT yet ready! We are full of
spiritual blemishes, spots and wrinkles. We have been allowing lust,
coveting and serious SINS to invade this Church!
I am now calling on this Church to CLEAN UP!